The Permanent Family Record
WICKI-YAH (“in the land of the FIT — Farmers In Training”) writes: “Subject: No way! This ain’t L.A.!
“Harley Man and I were hanging out with four of our grandkids (children of our daughter, the Pastor’s Wife, now the Pastor-Farmer’s Wife) while Mom and Dad took a much-deserved vacation on the North Shore during his work sabbatical.
“The kids were really helpful during our 12-day stay, so we decided to drive from their little farm into Sioux Falls for lunch and ice cream on our last day. We spent just shy of $40 on seven small ice-cream treats. We could not help but comment that raising kids is expensive, but the kids were worth it.
“When they finished their treats, two of the kids asked if I thought the ice-cream shop had water. I told them to go in and ask if they could have a small cup of water.
“‘The teen in the service window handed them two kiddie-sized cups of water. The 11-year-old shrugged, and the 8-year-old ran out and asked for $5.
“‘What for?’ I asked.
“That’s the price for two cups of water,’ she said, with a dramatic flip of her hand.
“‘What?!’ Harley and I shouted in unison. ‘Ridiculous!’
“‘No. No. No!’ I said. I started calculating. It’s been a dry summer, but water is hardly a rare or expensive commodity, even in South Dakota! These were very small cups, and I figured it was like a half-cent of water in a two-penny cup!
“‘But I have $5 of my own money,’ the 8-year-old said.
“‘No, no, no,’ I repeated, maybe stomping my foot just a little. ‘You will NOT spend $5 on a tiny cup of water.’ (OK, so it was two cups of water.)
“The 11-year-old told the cashier that he had left his money at home. Harley Man opened the door, interrupting his attempt at gracefully getting out of paying for a cup of tap water, and said firmly: ‘Put the cups down and come on. Leave the cups! Let’s go! Now!’
“A bit of chaos ensued as we grabbed the little ones by the hand and ran across the street to the van. I checked over my shoulder in case the 16-year-old cashier had jumped the counter and was chasing us down, asking the kids ‘Did you take a sip?’ — like that really mattered.
“We drove home in silence, until many miles later when the 8-year-old piped up in a small, quivering voice from the way-back seat: ‘How long till we get home? You will die in the heat if you don’t drink water.’
“Thank God the 5-year-old, the one who always has an immediate answer, noted it would be three days before she was dead, stifling her immediate worry and my guilt at making her leave the water behind.
“We will report back on the status of the 8-year-old on Day 4. That is, if we’re not in jail for petty theft. In the replay in my head, I am sure someone got our license plate.
“Listening to the kids share the story with their parents when they got home, I am guessing the ‘water incident’ will come up at my funeral.”
Now & Then . . . Rerun Division
The most recent Sunday Bulletin Board included this note from THE DORYMAN of Prescott, Wis. — but, alas, without the accompanying, necessary picture (the absence of which might have left you puzzled): “Subject: Pause / Rewind / Play.
“Recently, on my almost-daily perusal of Facebook Marketplace, I came across this little gem.
“Back in the ’50s (I say that a lot now), Naper’s Hobby Shop in Windom ended up with lots of my adolescent pocket money. I was going through my scratch-built model-boat period when I first spotted this exact little outboard in his showcase. I don’t remember the price, but I’m pretty sure it was the single most expensive item in his inventory at that time. I drooled over it for months every time I visited to buy sheets and sticks of balsa wood for a few cents. Nice Mr. Naper even let me hold it once.
“Fast-forward to today, and it was a very fast forward, I still can’t justify it. But I do wonder if my last word will be a whispered ‘Evinrude.’”
BULLETIN BOARD MUSES: Coming soon to your local multiplex: “Citizen DORYMAN”!
The Permanent Family Record
JOHN IN HIGHLAND writes: “Subject: California, 1950.
“My dad, Ed, would always save the old license plates when the new ones would appear each year. Our family moved from California to Minnesota in the summer of 1950, driving in our trusty Chevy Fleetmaster.
“California had already started to issue license-plate tabs to reduce the number of new plates needed each year. This one covered the original date of 1947. Minnesota did not start using tabs until 1956-57.
“I was too young to remember the long trip driving cross-country, but my mother remembered it well. She said that we had stopped for lunch at a diner in northern Arizona. The news on the radio was that war had just broken out in Korea.”
The Permanent Family Record (responsorial) . . . And: Dept. of Neat Stuff (Clarification Division)
GREGORY J. of Dayton’s Bluff: “Recently THE GRAM WITH A THOUSAND RULES wrote about two family treasures: her dad’s pencil sharpener and her mother’s opera glasses.
“She also stated: ‘Now, I know neither of these items would qualify under GREGORY J.’s Dept. of Neat Stuff rules.’
“First, as we all know, Bulletin Board is not a competition. Second, if I haven’t already said so, Neat Stuff is in the eye of the beholder. Third, I have no rules regarding what qualifies as Neat Stuff. I know it when I see it. And finally, au contraire, I would consider both of those items to be Neat Stuff. As a matter of fact, someone thought that entry was one of mine at first glance.
“I’m no expert on pencil sharpeners, but according to the Internet, THE GRAM’s sharpener appears to be a classic Boston Champion model with hand crank and pinch feed made by the Boston Pencil Co., established in 1899. It is highly collectible due to its design. However, because it is also very well-built, the Champion lasts a long time and can be refurbished, so it isn’t very valuable from a monetary standpoint.
“I could find even less information about opera glasses, but THE GRAM’s pair certainly looks like a style of French opera glasses made in, you guessed it, Paris, France.
“No matter the manufacturing history of any item, always remember that if it is Neat Stuff to you, then it is Neat Stuff, with no other validation needed.”
The gifts that keep on giving
THE DORYMAN of Prescott, Wis.: “Subject: The gift that keeps on giving.
“I just finished a quickie back scratch this morning. A woodworker friend gifted me the back scratcher 40 years ago. (He’d made it from scratch.) Long gone, he’d be proud to know it hangs on a doorknob in our den and has been used at least weekly since 1983.
“Granny Min got me started on back scratches as a 3-year-old when I visited her and Grandpa on the Iowa farm. In those days, I insisted on wearing socks to bed. TMI, you think? Well, you had to be there . . . and here.”
Then & Now
LeoJEOSP writes: “Subject: My Uncle Edward!
“In 1960, when I was 5, my family was visiting my great-grandmother. I asked her about the old radio in front of us. Radios came in many sizes, but the Zenith Cabinet radio was a piece of furniture, made in 1946. It had AM and a record player built in — a very buggy record player made for playing 78-rpm discs.
“I now own this 1946 Zenith. The record player was thrown out and replaced with a CD player.
“On my 50th birthday, Uncle Edward and I were in front of the radio. He said he remembered how Aunt Mary Jean taught my dad how to dance while listening to a similar giant radio. He even remembered one of the songs: ‘Paper Doll,’ by the Mills Brothers. I think of them, back in the 1940s, and get a warm and fuzzy attack of the goosebumps.
“I remember telling Uncle Edward that it took a minute to warm up the tubes. He very kindly told me that he grew up with that type of radio. I felt like Captain Obvious, but Edward said: ‘Just enjoy the memories.”
In memoriam . . . Plus: The darnedest (or “darndest”) things
PEPPERMINT PATTY of Mankato: “How quickly time marches on. It’s going on nine years now since Handsome Farmer Husband died. I am remembering the short time that we shared together. (I know, I know, I posted this several years ago — but I feel the strong need to share it again.) In the very last scene, in the very last episode of ‘Newhart,’ Bob and his wife (played by Suzanne Pleshette) from his previous show, ‘The Bob Newhart Show,’ awaken in the morning, in bed, and Bob states: ‘I had the craziest dream.’ That moment encapsulates our short but sweet time together.
(BULLETIN BOARD INTERJECTS: Warning! Cute kid story ahead!)
“I am a longtime ‘survivor’ of the profession now known as a Guest Teacher (previously labeled as a Substitute Teacher). I must share this one situation that I recently experienced with a student. I was sitting by a fourth-grader, assisting with an assignment, when I started to remove my sweater. As I removed my arm from one of the sleeves, the student, looking at my arm, stated: ‘Are you a grandma?!’ Need I say more? It appeared that my upper arm had spoken for me.
“As Art Linkletter used to say: ‘Kids say the darndest things.’”
BULLETIN BOARD SAYS: Indeed, he did. And that, unaccountably, is how he spelled it.
The Permanent Friendly Record . . . Or: Know thyselves!
CHERIE D of IGH: “Subject: Idiot-syncrasies.
“My friend Brenda and I spend most of our time together laughing — good for the heart and soul, but maybe not so much for our minds. The laughter that keeps pushing its way into our conversations has sometimes caused us to get our signals mixed up. We call these moments idiot-syncrasies.
“In late June, we were going to meet at the Farmers’ Market in the old Signal Hills parking lot. I got there early and parked. And waited. And waited. I finally texted Brenda and told her where I was. Turns out she was parked outside my house waiting for me to come out.
“Another time, I was meeting Brenda for lunch at a restaurant I’d never been to before. Following the directions, I wound up way north of the place. I called her, and when she stopped laughing, almost, she told me I had turned right rather than left on the road to the restaurant. I turned around.
“One day not long ago, Brenda and I were talking on the phone and making plans to have lunch, again, and were deciding on a restaurant. Of course laughter once again wormed its way into our conversation, and when we were about to say ‘Bye’ and hang up, I said: ‘OK, see you at Ansari’s!’ And she said: ‘Wait — I thought we chose Jameson’s!’
“We went to Jameson’s, because though I had the last laugh, she had the last word!”
Your stories are welcome. The address is BB.email@example.com.